Judge: St. Louis residents don't need vote on stadium bonds - KMOV.com

Judge: St. Louis residents don't need vote on stadium bonds

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ST. LOUIS (AP) - The effort to build a new football stadium in St. Louis got a big boost Monday when a judge ruled that approval from city voters is not necessary to use bond proceeds for the project.

St. Louis Circuit Judge Tomas Frawley's ruling voided a city ordinance requiring voter approval for any project using tax dollars for a professional sports facility along the Mississippi River. He called the 2002 law's language confusing and vague.

The attorney for a group of citizens who want a public vote on the stadium said he believes stadium supporters are afraid such a vote would fail.

"They want what they want and they want a new stadium, they don't want anything to get in the way. I think they're afraid of public sentiment against it," said SLU law professor John Amman.

A spokesman for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said the mayor believes voters would support public funding for a new stadium if they had the chance to weigh in.

Another group that opposes public funding of such projects he is unsure if Slay's office will appeal because Slay supports the stadium proposal.

"It remains to be seen if the mayor will appeal this decision, there is some ambivalence there, the mayor is in favor of the stadium and he wants 160 more police but he can't afford it, but he's willing to commit city taxpayers to 6 million dollars a year for another 30 years," said Fred Lindecke from the Coalition Against the Public Funding of Stadiums.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Francis Slay says the city is reviewing the ruling.

The St. Louis Rams play in the Edward Jones Dome, which is outdated by NFL standards. The team is weighing a move to Los Angeles.

The new stadium would cost nearly $1 billion. Debt on the Edward Jones Dome still has to be paid off.

Supporters for the proposed 62,000 seat stadium say it will revitalize a blighted part of the riverfront, keep millions in revenue, and free the Edward Jones Dome for other events during football season.

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